Are you tired of your feet freezing in the wintertime? If you live in a cold climate, they may be one of your main complaints. Even those who have a vacation home nestled in the snowy mountains need a break from stone cold floors. Now, it’s possible to warm your tootsies which, in turn, will keep the rest of your body warmer too with the invention of a genius technology called radiant heated flooring.
In the past, radiant heated flooring was reserved for the wealthy. Not so anymore. It is priced so all can afford it and in some ways, you may not can afford to NOT have it.
What is Radiant Floor Heating?
Electric radiant floor heating is a form of central heating. The system achieves climate control through hydronic or electrical heating elements that are housed in the floor. The heating is made possible through radiation, conduction, and convection. Because heat rises, radiant floor heating makes perfect sense and it solves an age-old problem…cold feet!
How Radiant Floor Heating Works
Electric wires or hot-water tubes are buried under the floor which create thermal radiation waves. As the waves rise, they warm up any objects they come in contact with. Those objects capture the heat as well. The air basically remains consistent in temperature, unlike forced air heating, but you are able to stay comfortable since the surrounding surfaces are nice and warm and aren’t taking warmth from your body as cold objects do.
In a radiant setup, the warmth is supplied by hot-water tubes or electric wires buried underneath the floor. As the invisible waves of thermal radiation rise from below, they warm up any objects they strike, which radiate that captured heat in turn. Though the air temperature remains relatively constant, you stay comfortable because the surrounding surfaces aren’t stealing warmth from your body.
Electric Radiant Floor Heating vs. Hydronic
The two main types of radiant heat are hydronic (also referred to as ‘in-floor hot water heating’) and electric. Both achieve the same mission which is to create heat under the floor and bring it to the room above. The only difference is how they get the job done. One works through electric means and the other relies on a water heating system.
There are a number of factors that will help you determine which type is s the best fit for you, electric or hydronic. Electric systems run off electric heating elements that are woven into a serpentine pattern in order to heat the floor. They are relatively simple to install. Electric systems typically heat up within 30 to 60 minutes. Electric systems are ideal for remodel projects as well as new home construction.
Hydronic systems use hot water that’s pumped through plastic tubes that are laid out in a serpentine pattern in order to heat the floor. They are best for new home construction because they aren’t easy to retrofit. Water-based systems are more expensive due to the fact that they require gas and pump equipment. Hydronic systems also take longer to heat.
Benefits of Radiant Floor Heating
There are tons of advantages radiant floor heating bring to a structure such as:
Heats Objects Not Air
The concept of radiant floor heating is nothing short of amazing. The objects in the room, including people, are heated so there’s no need to shoot out warm or hot air which causes the air to dry out and energy to be wasted. The heat that is derived from radiant floor heating is similar to the way the sun warms objects and humans…simply natural!
While heating units that blow air can be obnoxious, homeowners love that there is no noise associated with radiant heated flooring.
Since the heating system is located beneath the flooring, it is not an eyesore as most other out in the open heating units are. There’s no ductwork or ugly equipment to ruin the looks of your home. The aesthetics are one of the main reasons homeowners love radiant floor heating.
Ductwork associated with traditional heating have ductwork that spew out dust, dander, and other allergens which wreak havoc on those who suffer from allergies. Radiant floor heating is allergy-suffers’ dream.
Radiant floor heating works the way nature does – it sends warm air up rather than out. The very make-up of having heat originate from the ground up makes it energy efficient and therefore, pocket-book friendly.
Disadvantages of Radiant Floor Heating
Along with the good points, radiant floor heating also has a few disadvantages such as:
Radiant floor heating can be expensive to install whereas other types of heating can be placed in a window or come in portable floor units. Installation into an existing structure basically calls for a remodel project as the floor will need to be taken up.
To install radiant floor heating, the floor must be taken up and replaced which can be time consuming and costs money.
What to Know When Purchasing Radiant Floor Heating
You will want to know which type of heating system you want to go with hydronic or electric. Do you want to install it in every room or just some? Are you installing in an existing structure? If so, you will want to consider the cost of having the floor removed and then replaced or, count the time and labor if you are doing the project yourself.
Be sure you get the highest quality possible and only do business with a trustworthy dealer. Radiant floor heating lasts decades when done properly so don’t hesitate to have a professional install it.
If you’re warming up to the idea of radiant floor heating, it may be the answer to your winter woes.